Professional Learning Environments in Top-Performing Systems

Professional Learning Environments in Top Performing Systems:
Policies That Drive Achievement and Equity

The National Center on Education and the Economy’s (NCEE) Center on International Education Benchmarking has released two major reports on professional learning environments in top performing systems and the implications for school leaders, policymakers and the education profession in the United States:

Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems

Developing Shanghai’s Teachers

Following the release of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, the conversation surrounding how to improve teaching and learning in the U.S. has gained traction. The findings detailed in Jensen and Zhang’s reports provide essential information on how the U.S. can learn from the top performing education systems by adapting those lessons for the U.S.’s context and culture.


Click here to watch video of the release event. The meeting featured three panel conversations with the leading voices in education from around the world. Expert panelists included:

  • Marc Tucker, president and CEO, NCEE (moderator)
  • Minxuan Zhang, former president, Shanghai Normal University, former deputy director, Shanghai Education Commission, professor and director of research, Institute of International Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University (report author)
  • Ben Jensen, CEO, Learning First (report author)
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
  • David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, former chair of the National Assessment Governing Board
  • Lily Eskelsen García, president, National Education Association
  • Sing Kong Lee, vice president of education strategies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, former director of the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore
  • Joshua P. Starr, CEO, PDK International, former superintendent Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools
  • Paul Leather, deputy commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Education
  • Anthony Mackay, CEO, Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) Melbourne, inaugural chair, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), and senior advisor to the president, NCEE
  • Charles Pearson, superintendent, Normandy (MO) Schools Collaborative
  • Tom Shelton, executive director, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
  • Jason Dougal, CEO, National Institute for School Leadership

In the Media

How High-Performing Nations Treat Educators as Professionals, NEA Today Magazine, January 20, 2016

Making Sense of Global Comparisons in Education, The Educated Reporter (EWA), January 19, 2016

What high performing countries have to teach us about teacher training, Hechinger Report, January 15, 2016

What the US could learn from Singapore about making teachers better, VOX, January 15, 2016

How Turning Teachers Into Researchers Helps Shanghai Schools Thrive, Inside School Research (Edweek Blog), January 14, 2016

Lessons From Abroad on Professional Learning, Learning Forward’s PD Watch (Edweeek Blog), January 13, 2016

Photos from the Release Event